Space the Final Frontier

“Russian Space Farmers” Grow Edible Crops in Space

Wheat, greens and peas galore!

They're excited about all that wheat they might be eating soon. (Getty)

“Didja hear about all that tasty wheat they’re growing in space?” (Getty)

In the future, becoming an astronaut might not involve consuming dehydrated cream of mushroom soup.

According to Russian news agency RIA Novosti, “Russian space farmers” have managed to grow a variety of crops on board the International Space Station, and yesterday, they were verified as safe to eat. 

So far, the astronauts have harvested leafy greens, wheat and peas. Next year, they’ll try out rice, tomatoes and bell peppers. We guess nobody’s particularly craving borscht, huh?

News of Russian astronauts floating around space and poking at lettuce might not seem especially groundbreaking, but the ability to harvest a variety of crops in space could make long-duration space travel a lot easier.

In the case of the ISS, astronauts wouldn’t have to rely as much on periodic resupply missions to get their food. And in cases of deep space travel—like a fucking lifelong mission to Mars, for instance—astronauts wouldn’t have to stockpile as large a food supply upon takeoff, making their launch weight a lot lighter.

Also, this sentence:

Space-based agriculture has long been of interest to scientists, as plants not only scrub carbon dioxide exhaled by astronauts, but could be used to recycle human waste into food.

Yeah, we’re still sticking to Earth.

Follow Jordyn Taylor on Twitter or via RSS. jtaylor@observer.com